Daily News from New York, New York on April 24, 1981 · 46
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Daily News from New York, New York · 46

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, April 24, 1981
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46 ll.'.H U,.MI.H.'M',I, By TOM HANRAHAN For 10 long weeks in winter they fought each other, the rough Irish kids of Sunnyside vs. the street fighters of Bedford-Stuyvesant, the Hispanic immigrants of the South Bronx vs. the Ave. C crowd from the lower East Side, the Italian workers' sons of Staten Island against the khaki pants set from Connecticut. They fought for the right to be called the best amateur boxer in New York, a Golden Glove champion. , Monday night, at the Garden, the very best of that mixed bag, the 11 open class winners of the Gloves' 54th graduating class, take on their counterparts from Chicago. And if you're a New Yorker, you've got to believe Chicago is in for an evening that will in no way enhance our city's reputation for friendliness. NEW YORK'S battlers are a cocky lot who fought their battles in cramped church basements and housing project gymnasiums thick with cigaret smoke, hoarse cheers and the soggy smell of spilt beer and soft pretzels. "I betcha they don't have those kind of fights In Chicago," says Wayne Anderton, the 125-pound upper West Side resident. And he's right. Nor does the Windy City have as many of that type of fighter. Chicago had only 350 fighters competing in its Gloves; New York had more than 1,300. Often the survivors of those 1,300 "struggled in front of crowds more interested in the big home run punch than a disciplined (and far more effective) left hook, working at their craft in the bedlam of a small parish and the intimidating size and prestige of the Felt Forum. They fought, on the average, twice as many fights as their Windy City counterparts to become champions. Chicago's 11 beat New York last year 6-5, but New York team coach Johnny DeFoe says this year's Big Apple contingent is even more dangerous than last year's. "THREE CHAMPS from last year were unseated this year," he points out. "And the guys they lost to have got to be considered an improvement" One such new champ, David Sears, a 21-year-old light-heavyweight from Howard Beach who won his first Gloves title in six years of trying, is a good example of why New York is expected to win and win big Monday night. "This is going to be my last amateur fight," says the rugged-looking truck driver. "And although you want to win all your fights, this one is especially important Because I'm fighting amateur just for the hell of it, and this is the last time I'll do it just for that reason." The teamster, blessed with excellent balance plus power in both hands, can be expected to greet Chicago's Johnny Williams, also 21 and the 1980 Ohio State Fair champion, with the his favorite combination, a classic 1-2 punctuated with a low-slung left hook that strikes an opponent's head like one of those pile drivers they use at construction sites. And while the Midwest is well-equipped with genuine amateur boxing programs, the Big Apple's entries have grown up in between pros of the past and present and in a town that views amateur boxing as a way station on the road to the poke-for-pay racket "To me it's more than just another fight" says Carl Williams, New York's heavyweight champion from Jamaica, Queens. "It's good exposure, which I want, it's good practice, which I need, and I'd like to go to the national AAU tournament a few months from now with that rep you know, that I'm the baddest fighter in New York and Chicago." FROM FAR ROCKAWAY to Flatbush to Yonkers, he certainly was the baddest amateur heavyweight irf these parts, and in the largest amateur boxing tournament in the world. "And the best training ground in the world for a kid who wants to be a professional boxer," says Garden boxing president John Condon, who saw his first boxing match at the Church of the Good Shepherd Athletic Club in upper Manhattan a long time ago. "I'd even go so far as to say that if you don't fight in the Golden Gloves, you've little or no chance of ever making it as a pro fighter," Condon adds. The reason for its size, anyone familiar with the Gloves will tell you, is that the Golden Gloves manages to -transcend the racial lines, class bound fit : J7 ,..,..,,...,,.v.,.-,.,.,.,,.- .v.,-.,.,,,. , ... .......r. ,., - - ' " '" VINCENT NEHL DMLV NEWS Heavyweight open champ Carl Wilirams connects to the face of Ronald Turner. VINCtNT RIEHL DAILY NtV.3 David Sears lands a blow in bis victory over defending champ Porfirio Llanes. aries and borough chauvinism that so often characterize sports in general. "It's put up or shut up," says Floyd Patterson, the two-time world heavyweight champion and once a Gloves champion from Bedford-Stuyvesant "There's no room for your color, or how well off or bad off you may be. It's just whether or not you can fight" The Gloves are "the Tony awards of the street," according to Michael Dominguez, a 24-year-old 132-pounder who'll meet Chicago's Primo F. Ramos. "They're presented at a stage nearly as well-known as the Great White Way and the same spot so many fighters have copped a world championship ; center ring at Madison Square Garden." THE INTERCITY bouts, which were held in Chicago last year, are back at the Garden this year and New York can enjoy the home advantage. But the competition will be tougher than the champs' last Garden experience and the prize, still clearly amateur, will be both" simple and sweet bragging rights to not only one of America's two greatest cities, but both. The series began in 1928, the year after the first Golden Gloves was held in New York. It ran till 1961 before being suspended, and came back in 1978. The record to date has New York winning 13 times and Chicago 17 times, with eight stalemates. Chicago's narrow win last year was a dramatic turnabout for a team that lost 74 in 1978 and 9-2 in 79. - . - Though not originally intended as such, the Gloves has become the showcase for future pro- . fessional greats. More than a dozen Golden Gloves champions have gone on to win world titles. At one time ex-Glovers held seven of the eight world championships. The first was Barney Ross, the famous Chicago champ from Detroit Muhammad Ali won the Intercity title for Chicago in the early '60s. Tony Zale, the former middleweight champ, fought and won, too, for Chicago. New York had .Floyd Patterson, of course, and Sugar Ray Robinson. And a still coming challenger from Long Island by the name of Gerry Cooney. And for those who can't resist running to their , Ring encyclopedia, add to the list such Glovers turned pro champions as Gus Lesnevich, Bob Olin, Petey Scalzo, Solly Krieger, Melio Bettina, Phil Terranova, Sal Bartolo, Johnny Saxton and Harold Dade. There were even a few fighters who couldn't quit cut the steep grade of the Gloves, but who later went on to. annex world pro titles such as Jimmy Carter, Ezzard Charles, Joey Maxim and Lou Salica. THEN THERE WAS the husky heavyweight who lost a close decision in the New York Gloves finals of 1948 and then broke the habit, never losing again. His name: Rocky Marciano. The names you'll hear Monday night are not quite as recognizable to the average boxing fan, though they are well-known to Gloves regulars. And they'll be closely studied by the flesh hawks from the pros when they tape up their hands and walk into the 20-foot ring. "If you're gonna find a real talent this is a good place to look," said one promoter not eager to be identified. "No one gets this far on a lucky punch, or the luck of the draw or because there wasn't any real competition." The card starts at 7:30 p.m. Simday a Zopfc at the- New York and Chicago .welterweight .Joe .Louis .was a light-heavyweight rosters records, biographies and picks' '

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